In some instances, you can walk in and walk out of an establishment with a new fuzzy family member the same day. However, other times you may experience a long process in order to adopt an animal.
No matter which route you choose, there’s usually a bit of paperwork involved so that shelters, organizations, and breeders aren’t just handing an animal to anyone who wants one — though that’s not the case in every situation.
If you do encounter an adoption situation that requires a lengthy process, don’t get frustrated or discouraged. What you should know about the lengthy process is that the organization checks your home and your family in order to make sure the animal is the right fit for you, and you’re the right fit for the animal. What may seem like an overwhelming amount of preparation is really an effort to keep both you and the animal safe.
Some animal adoption organizations require a home inspection as an aspect of their paperwork before they will adopt out an animal. Many prospective animal owners are worried about this, but just because your house is small or has a pool, you won’t be immediately disqualified. If you have a pool, that’s fine; in many cases, the agency will just go through training to make sure the dog can swim and knows how to use the stairs to get out of a pool, etc. What’s more important is if your home is safe for dogs, if your yard is fenced, and if you’re willing to fix any concerning areas.
Doing a family check involves meeting you, the members of your household, and seeing how everyone interacts. You may need to introduce your existing animals to your potential new one to see how they do together. If you have children or roommates, an organization may want to meet everyone. Again, having roommates or older family members will not necessarily make you a less desirable candidate to adopt a new 4-legged family member.
Animals may have a lot of positive influence on your family members as they are sometimes used for therapy animals for seniors, for mental health disorders, or for children. Also, socialization is great for animals. Shelters just want to make sure you don’t have any allergies, you know how to take care of an animal, and that the personalities mesh before taking them home.
Getting the Details in Place
The idea behind the lengthy process of animal adoption is to find all the potential issues that make many animal owners surrender pets and nip them in the bud. You may have to show proof from your landlord that you’re allowed to have a pet. You may have to show proof that you have a vet in place for your pet. You may have to sign paperwork promising you won’t leave or surrender your pet in the event of moving homes, that you won’t declaw your cat, and that you understand the obligations of owning a pet — that it’s a forever commitment. Not only do they want their animals placed in the right homes, they want to help you in the case of an emergency that may affect your animals negatively.
Not Everyone Has Pure Intentions
If you find yourself getting frustrated with the process, remember that even if your intentions are pure in your quest to love a pup forever, that’s not true for everyone. These steps are taken in order to weed out the people looking for an animal for the wrong reasons.
Some people seek animals short-term and don’t understand the commitment. Others have a skewed perception of how an animal should be treated. Others have much more sinister intentions. For the organizations looking to find home for animals, they want to make sure they place that animal in the hands of someone who is committed to giving them the best home possible for the rest of their lives. If you’re that person, hang tight, but understand why it’s such a lengthy process sometimes.
Keeping Everyone Safe
More than anything, they just want everyone to be safe. For this reason, many animals go through an evaluation. They are tested around cats, dogs, children, food, toys, and other stimuli to see how they react in order to keep you, your other animals, and your children safe. If a dog doesn’t do well with children, it’s not necessarily bad, it just means they won’t allow that animal to go home with a family with children.
They will evaluate you as well in order to keep the animal safe, which is why you need to go through a home check, family check, etc. If you have a history of animal abuse or neglect, you’ll fail the evaluation. If you’re misinformed about how to take care of an animal, the organization will give you educational tools to help. The number one priority, and why these processes can be cumbersome, is to keep everyone safe.
Anything worth having is worth the wait, so be patient if you encounter an organization that requires a lengthy evaluation process before you bring home a furry friend. Instead, be thankful you’re adopting from people who care a lot about the long-term well-being of the animals they take in. If you get through the evaluation, rest assured that both you and your new animal are a great fit. You’re ready to care for them forever, and your animal is ready to be your companion forever. Not every organization has the ability to foster a lengthy adoption process, but respect any requirements you come across — they are there to protect you as well as the animal. And, truthfully, there should be more people who care so much for the lives of the animals, so applaud their effort.
Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in beautiful Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She is passionate about animal rights, bad television, and white wine. She is a volunteer at Simply Cats in Boise.